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Mostly Autumn - The Last Bright Light CD (album) cover


Mostly Autumn


Prog Folk

3.97 | 223 ratings

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Tony Fisher
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I did not think that Mostly Autumn could ever top The Spirit Of Autumn Past, but they may have done so with this album. It's hard to define their style: they have smatterings of Renaissance or Capercaillie in the beautiful female vocals and folky style, the guitar solos and keyboards can sound like Floyd or Marillion and they use flute like Camel, Tull or early Genesis. Many of their songs have a slightly otherworldly feel about them as if they were inspired by Lord of the Rings. This album introduces a new rhythm section with Andy Smith on bass and Jonathan Blackmore on drums; talented musicians who play their part in full.

They kick off with a short reprise of the pipes at the end of The Gap Is Too Wide from the previous album called Just Moving On, then go into we Come And We Go, a gentle slow song with some fine guitar and a theme of human mortality, sung by Bryan Josh in his rather lazy, deep voice. Birdsong leads into Half The Mountain, another truly beautiful Josh song about loss (the death of his father?) culminating in a short but delightful guitar solo. Eyes Of The Forest introduces the voice of Heather Findlay, the finest female vocalist in prog. The song is a gentle song about environmental destruction, beautifully backed by acoustic guitar, flute and cello.

Then it's full tilt into concert favourite The Dark Before The Dawn, with Angela Goldthorpe's flute and Iain Jennings keyboards driving Josh's vocals along until a brilliant guitar solo takes over. Hollow is another slow haunting song, reminiscent of Evergreen on the last album, and sung equally well by Heather Findlay with Jennings providing some masterful keyboards.

Prints In The Stone is folky, featuring some lovely low whistle and vocals by Liam Davison, then into the title track, which after a folky start changes into a full blown 8 minute epic with fine keyboards and a guitar solo of epic proportions. Never The Rainbow lets Heather Findlay really let rip and has a sing along chorus and majestic keyboards, ending in another lightning guitar solo. Shrinking Violet is another exquisitely beautiful Findlay song about loneliness and the fear of taking chances and the vocal harmonies are perfection.

Helms Deep is a fast folky instrumental, at first full of acoustic guitars, flute and recorders but then introducing a Hammond solo of Emersonian proportions along with battle noises and pipes before a final guitar solo. Which Wood? is a classical sounding Goldthorpe piece with flute and acoustic guitar backed with bodhran and harpsichord. Mother Nature is a complex 12 minute Josh epic which is mostly slow but has an exciting fast section with thunder and some fine keyboards and a gentle but melodic guitar solo at the end.

This album has quickly (I've had it just 3 weeks and it's not been off my CD player) joined a very small but select band (Argus, The Snow Goose, The Tain) with which I can find no fault, no way of improving it. 5* is not adequate for such a work of genius but will have to suffice. An utterly essential masterpiece and the best album recorded since 1975.

Tony Fisher | 5/5 |


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